Jim Ervin is delighted that his best pal Peter Thompson is coming back to Linfield.
Every Blueman is sure to share Ervin’s feelings about Thompson’s return to the club after seeing him net 152 goals in 235 appearances in his first spell.
And full-back Ervin is backing his mate to handle any pressure that may be piled on his shoulders by Bluemen expecting Thompson to fire the Windsor Park men to the Carling Premiership title.
The pair have been close friends since Ervin arrived at Windsor Park after leaving Nottingham Forest to sign for the club he’d supported as a boy in the summer of 2004. And when Ervin got married last summer Thompson was his best man.
It wasn’t the first time that Ervin and Thompson have stood side-by-side on a big day. They won three league titles and two Irish Cups together — Ervin missed the third cup success after suffering a cruciate ligament injury — as well as a scattering of other prizes before Thompson left Windsor Park and the Irish League for Stockport County 18 months ago.
Now that he is back the Windsor Park faithful will be looking to their returning hero to deliver another league crown between now and the end of the season, when his loan deal will expire.
“There will probably be pressure on him. Everyone will expect him to be like he was in the past when he was scoring goals regularly — or even expectations that he’s a better player for being at Stockport for a year and a half,” said Ervin.
“I’m sure he’ll handle it because he always has in the past and he’s always proved himself when people have doubted him.”
Despite their close friendship Ervin revealed that he only found out about Thompson’s return at the same time as everyone else.
“It was news to me when I heard late on Wednesday night — but good news,” said Ervin.
“For Linfield it’s a great signing and adds even more competition up-front.
“In a way I am pleased that Peter is coming back because it’s good for Linfield and he’s a great player, but at the same time I’m disappointed because I wanted Peter to do well in England.”
With the Carling Premiership programme this weekend being all but wiped out once again Thompson’s first appearance in his second spell with Linfield is on hold, until at least Tuesday night when the Blues are due to host Coleraine — provided the Windsor Park pitch thaws out in time.
And even training is proving difficult for local teams during the big freeze.
“It’s a nightmare trying to get pitches or indoor facilities because they are nearly all block-booked and aren’t available,” said Ervin.
“It hasn’t been much fun over the last couple of weeks because we’ve been doing all our training as normal, all the build-up to the match on a Saturday and being fully prepared both physically and mentally for matches and then getting a call, maybe when you’re just about to leave the house, to say that the match is off.
“It’ll be different this weekend because the match is already off, but I doubt we’ll have a day off.”